Jamaica has congratulated Costa Rica’s first black female vice-president, Epsy Campbell Barr, whose paternal grandmother was born and raised in Jamaica, but migrated to Costa Rica.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith, since the election on Sunday, wrote a congratulatory letter to the history maker, who also is an economist.
She noted, in the letter, that the election of Campbell Barr is ‘a new political landmark as the first woman of Afro-descent to be elected to such high office throughout Latin America’.
Johnson Smith further said: “Jamaica has maintained a long and close friendship with Costa Rica, and we look forward to working with you and your Government to build on this relationship, as our two countries seek new avenues to deepen our bilateral cooperation and collaboration at the regional and multilateral levels for the benefit of our peoples.”
Campbell Barr, who was born in San José in 1963, has been named after her Jamaican grandmother. Based on her Facebook page, she also is a fan of Jamaica’s Reggae icon Bob Marley.
Campbell Barr contested the election on Sunday alongside Carlos Alvarado Quesada, who won the presidential poll.
Before she created history, the long-time politician unsuccessfully vied to become vice president as well as president.
Reports in the international press are that, during the just-concluded campaign as a member of the Citizens’ Action Party, Campbell Barr noted the need for an all-inclusive Costa Rica, and she reached out to black Costa Ricans, women, and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community.
Campbell Barr is said to have recorded the following message in an appeal to people of African descent on Election Day: “I want to call on the Afro-descendant population of this country to which I belong very proudly – which is part of my story and the story of this country…to go out and vote… Vote for a Costa Rica where we have a place.”
Following the election victory, she said: “Costa Rica gave us a new opportunity. The electorate, in a historic quest, said yes to the modern Costa Rica of the bicentennial. A special thank you to the youth who, from different trenches, put the flag of Costa Rica first.”